Safuu Racing

Safuu Racing Battle The Elements at Brands Hatch Indy

Safuu Racing arrived at Brands Hatch Indy, arguably the shortest and most action packed track on the calendar, hoping for more points and plenty of progress. A home track for Team Hard meant that our Safuu Racing drivers, Nic Hamilton and Aron Taylor-Smith were of course going to be heavily in demand with fans flocking to the historic track situated in Kent. The fans were not left disappointed once the lights went out.

The races were actioned packed and while the touring car gods dealt Safuu Racing another mixed bag of luck, the British Touring Car Championship lived up to its fine reputation as the most competitive race series you will see anywhere in the world.

Scorching Saturday

Brands basked in sunshine on the Saturday and the track seemed to heat up throughout the day and with the Free Practice sessions out of the way, a clean Quali without hybrid issues was on everyone’s wish list up and down the paddock. The Hybrid Era has been great for racing thus far, however it is not without its problems and teams felt the heat in more ways than one come 3:50pm on Saturday as many had issues with reports of it failing to work for many of the drivers.

The fact that it is consistent in its inconsistency means that predicting the grid layout for Race 1 went from hard to impossible! Aron unfortunately was hit hardest with issues in Qualifying, as his Quali session got started about 25 minutes after everyone else. Aron eventually ended up in P24 and was left with an uphill struggle for Race 1 the next day.

Árón Taylor-Smith, #40, said:

“It’s a hard day because I feel like we are half cursed. The team did a fantastic job but unfortunately the suppliers have massively let us down again. We sat out half of the qualifying session because one of the suppliers that looks after the electricals of the car plugged in and didn’t tell anyone and that deletes all of the settings like the throttle body, mapping and everything like that on the car. This meant we couldn’t run the car and was forced to watch on. The race pace is good, and to be honest, tomorrow can’t go any worse than today. We will move forward tomorrow and make the most of it but it’s incredibly frustrating that we can’t show the potential of the car.”

Nic however, had quite the different journey to contend with. Some key changes were made to his car which are going to have such a positive impact on the way he drives the car. After a difficult Donington Nic went back to drawing board about how he can improve his car to combat his disability and on the whole he was extremely pleased at all the work the team had put in and while the adjustments will take time to get used to, Nic was very happy with his Saturday.

Nicolas Hamilton, #28, said:

“I’ve had a really positive day; the progress has been incredible. I have a new brake pedal with a new servo. We’ve not had any testing or running on it before, so we came into the weekend with a massive unknown and it turns out I’ve had to change my driving style to accommodate the change. This meant only having free practice 1 and free practice 2 to get used to it. All day I have been chipping away at it, understanding the new brake characteristics with a bit of trial and error but it’s tomorrow where this new system is going to come into its own. Hopefully It’s going to help me throughout the races as it should mean I’ll be as consistent as everyone else on the brakes for the duration of the race and put me on that level playing feel I’ve been searching for. Today has shown I’ve been at a disadvantage for so long but now I have this system we just have to fine tune it.”

Nic qualified in P26, but ultimately left the happier of the two drivers as the car and set up was moving in the right direction.

Rainy Race Day

The difference in weather from Saturday to Sunday was like chalk and cheese. Nic and Aron just 24 hours before had to cope with the intense heat of their cockpit, but now were having to make tricky decisions on tyre choice as well coping with a track that was as greasy as any we have seen. Making progress and overtaking was the order of the day, but perhaps staying on track and bringing the car home in one piece is what some casual fans may have been thinking.

Aron Taylor-Smith managed to climb three places to P21 in a difficult race for all cars, the wet vs slick debate was being had in every garage and some teams made late calls on the grid, Nic ended Race 1 in P27. Race 2 however was a bit more like it for the Safuu Racing duo. The weather ensured we were still firmly on the wet tyre, but Aron climbed up to P16, a whisker away from more points. Nic then secured a P21, both battled through the field in what was an extremely hard fought race. Aron at one point was in the points, however was unable to hang on.

Race 3 saw a similar pattern emerge, plenty of promise shown by both of our drivers. Nic battling down the back straight with Team Hard teammate Rick Parfitt Jr was a particular highlight. The nearly man tag was firmly attached to Aron this weekend as he once again finished in P16 and by his own admission it was certainly one of those weekends that tests the character of a British Touring Car driver.

Team Hard would not be denied glory at their home track though, as Bobby Thompson secured his first ever podium within the BTCC with a P3 finish in Race 3. Safuu Racing look to mirror this fantastic result in the race weekends to come as we have a quick turn around for Thruxton in just two weeks’ time!

Árón Taylor-Smith, #40, said:

“For me personally, we struggled to find the sweet spot in terms of what we needed from car but at the same time we have done very limited wet running. Having said that we learnt a lot for my own driving and what I need from a car in those conditions to make it quick. In summary, a character-building race day but at the same time still positives to be taken. One thing that has to stand out is Bobby’s podium, I am over the moon for him and the team because it’s great to see the team get the results they deserve. Hats off to him, he drove impeccably in all three races and thoroughly deserved those results.”

Nicolas Hamilton, #28, said:

“Getting the feeling with the new brake pedal in the rain during race 1 was a challenge as I’d never pressed the pedal before in the wet. Our pace was very comparative in races 2 and 3 and it was definitely progress for me, I didn’t feel any pain in the car which was nice and a really big improvement. The team worked fantastically together and had a really good weekend so we will just keep looking forward to the bigger braking circuits where I think this new system is really going to come into its own and you will see my progress.”

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